Today the Kitchen Sisters will share a story of Lebanese kitchens in the Mississippi Delta. They found this story last October, when visiting Oxford for the annual Southern Foodways Symposium.
Visit NPR's Web site to hear today's story, featuring Jimmy Thomas (managing editor of the new foodways volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture) and the folks at Abe's BBQ (who you'll find on our Tamale Trail). And read on to learn more about the episode, straight from the Kitchen Sisters.
Like the Kitchen Sisters story, "Georgia Gilmore and The Club From Nowhere," this hidden kitchen came to us from John T. Edge of the Southern Foodways Alliance. We were headed to Oxford, Miss., to interview Alice Waters and Scott Peacock for the SFA's 10th Annual Symposium.
We asked Edge for a suggestion of a hidden kitchen in the Delta. "Kibbe," he said.
He began to tell of Lebanese people who migrated to Mississippi in waves beginning in the late 1870s through the 1920s, and even into the 1960s. Many of the early Lebanese first worked as peddlers and went on to become the grocers and restaurateurs of the region.
Edge pointed us down the road and said to be sure to read down the menus. There, nestled between the fried chicken and barbecue, we would find tabouleh, grape leaves, stuffed cabbage, and kibbe, fried, baked or raw-- sort of the national food of Lebanon, a meatloaf of sorts.